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Crisis deepens in Andhra
65 MLAs quit; protesters damage 57 buses
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Telangana supporters clash with the police during a protest in Hyderabad on Thursday.
Telangana supporters clash with the police during a protest in Hyderabad on Thursday. — PTI

Hyderabad, December 24
The Congress government in Andhra Pradesh hurtled towards fresh political crisis today with a majority of ministers from Telangana region deciding to quit in the wake of the Centre’s move to put the statehood issue on the backburner.

Cutting across party lines, over 65 MLAs out of the total 119 from the region, in the 294-member Assembly, sent in their resignations.

State IT and Communications Minister K Ventak Reddy was the first among the 13 ministers from the region to announce his decision to resign from the cabinet and the Assembly.

Soon, a majority of Telangana ministers went into a huddle to take stock of the political situation and later announced that they would follow the suit if the Union government failed to specify the time-frame for formation of Telangana state.

“We have faxed a letter to our party president Sonia Gandhi seeking her intervention because Chidambaram’s latest statement has created confusion. We need clarity and a specific time-frame for creation of Telangana state,” Higher Education Minister D Sridhar Babu said.

The Telangana ministers will meet Chief Minister K Rosaiah tomorrow and convey their decision to him.

The UPA government’s U-turn on Telangana has sent the backward region into a tailspin with protestors hitting the streets and resorting to violent attacks targeting public properties.

The Osmania University campus here, the epicentre of the Telangana agitation, resembled a battleground with agitating students clashing with the police and hurling stones at them.

The police baton-charged them to bring the situation under control. Similar scenes were witnessed at Basheerbagh in the city where pro-Telangana demonstrators torched buses, attacked shops and stopped trains at several places.

“We have requisitioned additional forces from neighbouring states and also Central paramilitary forces for deployment at vulnerable places. The agitators have damaged 57 buses, stopped eleven trains and staged demonstrations at 330 places across Telangana districts today,” Inspector General of Police AR Anuradha said.

As many as 10 companies of CRPF were rushed from Delhi, taking the total strength of Central forces in the state to 38 companies, comprising about 4,000 men.

A Joint Action Committee (JAC), comprising representatives from the Congress, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), TDP and Praja Rajyam Party, was constituted to carry forward the movement.

“We will not rest till we achieve the statehood goal,” a resolution adopted at the JAC meeting said.

TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao rubbished the suggestions that the UPA government might consider constitution of the States’ Re-organisation Commission (SRC) to examine the demands for smaller states.

Asserting that no amount of central paramilitary forces could keep AP intact, he appealed to the Prime Minister to start the constitutional process to bifurcate the state without any further delay.




Telangana Tangle
11 MPs quit; claim assurance from Sonia
Vibha Sharma and Girija Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 24
The Congress-led UPA government is now hoping that the Telengana statehood issue will die out of its own and eventually everyone will come to terms with the existing situation.

High drama continued in the Capital today with 11 pro-Telengana MPs claiming to have tendered their resignations to party president Sonia Gandhi, apparently in another attempt to put pressure on the high command.

Later in the day, pro-Telengana MPs claimed to have been given an assurance by Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel that there would be no deviation on the party’s stand on Telengana.

However, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said the Home Minister had already clarified that because of altered situation in the state there was a need for wider consultations.

“Such sensitive issues are not steam rolled. They are always premised on the principal of maximalist consensus, therefore all stakeholders should refrain from upping the ante,” he added.

Seeking to justify its action of putting on hold the creation of a Telangana state, the government said it could not be a “one-sided” decision and a consensus was required on the issue, adding that people would “accept” the decision after some time.

“Any important decision is taken with everybody's consent, after consultations with everybody. And this is what was felt by the government over the last few days that it is not possible at times to implement a one-sided decision all of a sudden,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said, responding to questions on why the process of creation of Telangana has been put on hold.



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